The Cyclones drop a close one to Science Hill
Published 11:16 pm Friday, August 28, 2015
BY IVAN SANDERS
JOHNSON CITY— It was billed as David versus Goliath with Science Hill standing tall and calling out the Elizabethton Cyclones, but it was all the ‘Toppers could do to hold off a determined Cyclone charge inside Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City.
In the end, the ‘Toppers walked off the field victorious 28-21 in the season opener for both teams.
“We came into the contest talking about fighting and finishing the game,” said a proud Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “It was an unbelievable effort by our kids. Everybody that is a Cyclone fan should be proud because these guys played to the last second.
“We played with a lot of heart and soul. I believe this was one of the best efforts by a team in our school’s history.”
Science Hill drew first blood as the ‘Toppers moved down field on seven plays to hit pay dirt as Justin Bedard carried the ball over the goal line from his quarterback slot.
Adam Moorleghen connected on the point-after for a 7-0 Science Hill advantage.
Science Hill struck again just 1:30 seconds into the second quarter as Elijah Mathes bolted out for a 45-yard scoring jaunt to extend the ‘Topper advantage to 14-0 with Moorleghen’s PAT being good.
After going four and out, Elizabethton put a charge into the large Cyclone fan base that filled the stands as on a first and 10, Bedard dropped back to pass only to have the pass tipped by Preston Whitehead from his inside linebacker slot.
The ball was taken out of the air by Conner Johnson for a 25-yard pick six to cut the lead to seven points after Dylan Nordby was good on the extra-point attempt with 5:15 left before the half.
After a failed 30-yard field goal attempt by Moorleghen, the Cyclones pulled even behind the hard-nosed running of Logan Norman who picked up 73 yards on the ensuing drive to help set the Cyclones up at the three-yard line.
Jeremiah Turner took care of business from that point scampering into the end zone. With Nordby’s kick, the game was tied at 14-14 with 1:10 to play before the half.
The Cyclones left too much time on the clock however as the ‘Toppers took the ball down the field quickly to regain the lead when Bedard hit Tyrek Perkins for a 10-yard touchdown pass with only 18.4 seconds left to play before intermission.
Both teams entered the locker room as the ‘Toppers held the 21-14 upper hand.
The Cyclones held defensively coming out of the locker room and tied the game at the 9:08mark of the third period on Norman’s two-yard plunge. Nordby’s kick pulled the game even at 21-21.
Science Hill collected the game-winning score after the Cyclones stalled out at the Science Hill 32-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Bedard put the ball in the hands of Dobyns-Bennett transfer King Russell who lofted the ball to Mathes for a 43-yard touchdown pass.
Moorleghen was true and the ‘Toppers led 28-21.
The Cyclones looked like they were going to tie the game after Jalen Smith intercepted the ball at the Cyclone one-yard line to put the Cyclones in business with only 2:18 left to play.
Elizabethton moved the ball to the Science Hill 29-yard line before Science Hill stopped Corey Russell in bounds on a pass from Hunter Tyree and the Cyclones had no timeouts remaining as the time clicked off for the ‘Topper victory.
Science Hill finished with 591 yards of offense to Elizabethton’s 305 yards.
The Cyclones now must get prepared to open the new Citizen’s Bank Stadium when Johnson County invades town for a 7:30 pm kickoff next Friday night for what should be an exciting night of football in Elizabethton.